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Rooibos

Rooibos

Uses

Common names:
Bushman Tea, Red Bush Tea
Botanical names:
Aspalathus linearis

Parts Used & Where Grown

Rooibos is a nitrogen-fixing shrub native to South Africa. Its leaves are fermented and sun dried for use as a tea.

What Are Star Ratings?

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

3 Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.

2 Stars Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.

1 Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:

Used for Why
1 Star
Anti-Aging
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Preliminary studies show that rooibos has antimutagenic and antioxidant properties.1 , 2 , 3 , 4 It has also shown some ability to prevent radiation damage in animals.5 , 6 , 7 This research somewhat supports rooibos’s traditional use to slow the aging process. 

1 Star
Cancer
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Preliminary studies show that rooibos has antimutagenic and antioxidant properties.8 , 9 , 10 , 11 It has also shown some ability to prevent radiation damage in animals.12 , 13 , 14 This research somewhat supports rooibos’s traditional use to slow the aging process, and its modern use as a cancer preventative. 

1 Star
Indigestion, Heartburn, and Low Stomach Acidity
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Rooibos is traditionally used as a tea as a digestive aid. Unfortunately, no clinical trials have yet been published on this herb, so its efficacy is still unknown. Typically 1 to 4 teaspoons (5 to 20 mg) of rooibos is simmered in one cup of water (236 ml) for up to 10 minutes. Three cups of this tea can be drunk per day.

Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)

Rooibos is a pleasant-tasting beverage that has been used traditionally to sooth digestion and relieve stomach cramps, colic, and diarrhea. Rooibos tea has also been used to relieve allergies and eczema, and to slow aging.

How It Works

Common names:
Bushman Tea, Red Bush Tea
Botanical names:
Aspalathus linearis

How It Works

Rooibos is completely caffeine free and, unlike black tea (Camellia sinensis), does not contain tannins that may interfere with iron absorption. Rooibos is rich in flavonoids, polyphenols, and phenolic acids (including aspalathin, (+)-catechin, isoquercitrin, luteolin, quercetin, rutin, caffeic acid, ferulic acid, and vanillic acid). The polyphenol aspalathin is unique to rooibos. The plant also contains oligosaccharides, polysaccharides, and a variety of minerals, though at levels that are of questionable clinical relevance.15

Preliminary studies show that rooibos has antimutagenic and antioxidant properties.16 , 17 , 18 , 19 It has also shown some ability to prevent radiation damage in animals.20 , 21 , 22 This research somewhat supports rooibos’s traditional use to slow the aging process, and its modern use as a cancer preventative. Laboratory and animal studies indicate that it affects antibody production and has anti-HIV activity.23 , 24 , 25 These studies raise the possibility that the herb could be useful in aiding deficient immune responses in allergies, AIDS, and infections. No clinical trials have yet been published on this herb, however, so its efficacy is still unknown.

How to Use It

A tea can be made by steeping 1 to 4 teaspoons (5 to 20 grams) of rooibos in 1 cup (240 ml) of water for up to ten minutes. Three cups of this tea per day may be drunk, with or without food.26

Interactions

Common names:
Bushman Tea, Red Bush Tea
Botanical names:
Aspalathus linearis

Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds

At the time of writing, there were no well-known supplement or food interactions with this supplement.

Interactions with Medicines

As of the last update, we found no reported interactions between this supplement and medicines. It is possible that unknown interactions exist. If you take medication, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a new supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.
The Drug-Nutrient Interactions table may not include every possible interaction. Taking medicines with meals, on an empty stomach, or with alcohol may influence their effects. For details, refer to the manufacturers’ package information as these are not covered in this table. If you take medications, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.

Side Effects

Common names:
Bushman Tea, Red Bush Tea
Botanical names:
Aspalathus linearis

Side Effects

As rooibos has not been studied scientifically in humans, there is no information available about its safety in pregnancy or lactation or in people with kidney or liver failure. However, it is generally considered a very safe herb, and there are no known side effects, contraindications, or drug interactions.27

References

1. Standley L, Winterton P, Marnewick JL, et al. Influence of processing stages on antimutagenic and antioxidant potentials of rooibos tea. J Agric Food Chem 2001;49:114–7.

2. Van Gadow A, Joubert E, Hansmann CF. Comparison of the antioxidant activity of rooibos tea (Aspalathus linearis) with green, oolong and black tea. Food Chem 1997;60:73–7.

3. Inanami O, Asanuma T, Inukai N, et al. The suppression of age-related accumulation of lipid peroxides in rat brain by the administration of Rooibos tea (Aspalathus linearis). Neurosci Lett 1995;196:85–8

4. Sasaki YF, Yamada H, Shimoi K, et al. The clastogen-suppressing effects of green tea, Po-Lei tea and Rooibos tea in CHO cells and mice. Mutat Res 1993;286:221–32.

5. Shimoi K, Hokabe Y, Sasaki YF, et al. Inhibitory effect of rooibos tea (Aspalathus linearis) on the induction of chromosome aberrations in vivo and in vivo. ACS Symp Ser 1994;547:105–13.

6. Shimoi K, Masuda S, Shen B, et al. Radioprotective effects of antioxidative plant flavonoids in mice. Mutat Res 1996;350:153–61.

7. Komatsu K, Kator K, Mitsuda Y, et al. Inhibitory effects of Rooibos tea, Aspalathus linealis, on X-ray-induced C3H10T1/2 cell transformation. Cancer Lett 1994;77:33–8.

8. Standley L, Winterton P, Marnewick JL, et al. Influence of processing stages on antimutagenic and antioxidant potentials of rooibos tea. J Agric Food Chem 2001;49:114–7.

9. Van Gadow A, Joubert E, Hansmann CF. Comparison of the antioxidant activity of rooibos tea (Aspalathus linearis) with green, oolong and black tea. Food Chem 1997;60:73–7.

10. Inanami O, Asanuma T, Inukai N, et al. The suppression of age-related accumulation of lipid peroxides in rat brain by the administration of Rooibos tea (Aspalathus linearis). Neurosci Lett 1995;196:85–8

11. Sasaki YF, Yamada H, Shimoi K, et al. The clastogen-suppressing effects of green tea, Po-Lei tea and Rooibos tea in CHO cells and mice. Mutat Res 1993;286:221–32.

12. Shimoi K, Hokabe Y, Sasaki YF, et al. Inhibitory effect of rooibos tea (Aspalathus linearis) on the induction of chromosome aberrations in vivo and in vivo. ACS Symp Ser 1994;547:105–13.

13. Shimoi K, Masuda S, Shen B, et al. Radioprotective effects of antioxidative plant flavonoids in mice. Mutat Res 1996;350:153–61.

14. Komatsu K, Kator K, Mitsuda Y, et al. Inhibitory effects of Rooibos tea, Aspalathus linealis, on X-ray-induced C3H10T1/2 cell transformation. Cancer Lett 1994;77:33–8.

15. Duke JA, Bogenschutz-Godwin MJ, duCellier J, et al. Handbook of Medicinal Herbs, 2nd ed. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2002.

16. Standley L, Winterton P, Marnewick JL, et al. Influence of processing stages on antimutagenic and antioxidant potentials of rooibos tea. J Agric Food Chem 2001;49:114–7.

17. Van Gadow A, Joubert E, Hansmann CF. Comparison of the antioxidant activity of rooibos tea (Aspalathus linearis) with green, oolong and black tea. Food Chem 1997;60:73–7.

18. Inanami O, Asanuma T, Inukai N, et al. The suppression of age-related accumulation of lipid peroxides in rat brain by the administration of Rooibos tea (Aspalathus linearis). Neurosci Lett 1995;196:85–8

19. Sasaki YF, Yamada H, Shimoi K, et al. The clastogen-suppressing effects of green tea, Po-Lei tea and Rooibos tea in CHO cells and mice. Mutat Res 1993;286:221–32.

20. Shimoi K, Hokabe Y, Sasaki YF, et al. Inhibitory effect of rooibos tea (Aspalathus linearis) on the induction of chromosome aberrations in vivo and in vivo. ACS Symp Ser 1994;547:105–13.

21. Shimoi K, Masuda S, Shen B, et al. Radioprotective effects of antioxidative plant flavonoids in mice. Mutat Res 1996;350:153–61.

22. Komatsu K, Kator K, Mitsuda Y, et al. Inhibitory effects of Rooibos tea, Aspalathus linealis, on X-ray-induced C3H10T1/2 cell transformation. Cancer Lett 1994;77:33–8.

23. Kunishiro K, Tai A, Yamamoto I. Effects of rooibos tea extract on antigen-specific antibody production and cytokine generation in vitro and in vivo. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 2001;65:2137–45.

24. Nakano M, Itoh Y, Mizuno T, Nakashima H. Polysaccharide from Aspalathus linearis with strong anti-HIV activity. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 1997;61:267–71.

25. Nakano M, Nakashima H, Itoh Y. Anti-human immunodeficiency virus activity of oligosaccharides from rooibos tea (Aspalathus linearis) extracts in vitro. Leukemia 1997;11(Suppl. 3):128–30.

26. Pierce A. The APhA Practical Guide to Natural Medicines, NY: Stonesong Press Book, William Morrow & Co., Inc., 1999.

27. Duke JA, Bogenschutz-Godwin MJ, duCellier J. Handbook of Medicinal Herbs, 2nd ed. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2002.

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